tv Firing Line With Margaret Hoover PBS April 6, 2019 5:30am-6:01am PDT
>> he's the billionanaire businessman who says america is ready for a change, this week "firing line." >> raise your hand if you think the government is doing well for you. >> not a single ha. >> from his humble roots in brooklyn, new york, howard schultz rose to the top building one of the most famous brands in the world,in starbucks to promote social change, healthcare for rt-time employees, and free college tuition. >> and to our 330 starbucks college achievement plan graduates, so proud of you. >> now the lifelong democrat is considering a bid pe become the nation's chief executive as an inent. >> you can't beat the system, can you?hi >> well, i i can beat the system if i decide to run. >> leaving some democrats worried he'll hand the presidency to donald trump in 2020. >> all it can do is embolden donald trump. ld gone of us sh to starbucks until
he announces he's not running. >> what does howard schuz say now? >> "firing line with margaret hoov" is made possible by... corporate funding is provided by... and by... >> howard schultz, welcome to "firing line." >> thank you for having me on. >> for more than two decades, you were the chairman, the o of starbucks, a compan that you built, in your words,fr om the ground up. >> mm-hmm. >> and you have, beginning january, stirred the pot... >> you think so?nn >> ...byncing that you are exploring the candidacy for the president
of the united states as an y dependent centrist candidate outside the two-pastem. >> correct. >> it's been nine weeks, approximately, since you made that announcement. >> mm-hmm. >> how do you measure your success thus far? >> nine weeks does not makety a long opportuo assess what's really taken place. but i will tell you this -- i've traveled the country. i've been in a different city almost every day over this period. anmostly, i've heard from people who are dissatisfied, exhausted, and, at times, disgusted by the broken political system and the government's inability to solve the problems and the challenges themerican people are facing. now, clearly, i was met with a barrage of -- ault, - almomost probably from the democratic party.i n't know exactly.
which is interesting unto itself when i built a company that not only succeeded commercially but gave healthcare owrship and free college tuition to every employee, and at the same time, established a global enterprise carrying the american flag and american values. but the short answer to your question is, it's gone very well, from my perspective, and inspired me to continue to proceed. >> who's buying the message? >> the vast majority of americans who feel as if the democrats are so far tilted left and republicans are so far tilted righ and certainly don't trust the government.f >>'s going so well, do you anticipate that you're gonna run? >> by the end of spring, early summer, my wife, sheri, and i and our kids will make a final decision. >> what's nna convince you to do it? >> we've been studying with great discipline the pathway to 270. i think, at thisoint, given how far left the democratic party has gone --
>> 270 electoral votes, whichme s, as an independent centrist, you believe that there's a pathway through the electoral college... >> yes, exactly. >> ...to win t presidency? >> we've done the work to basically put us on the ballot of every state. i can tell you that unequivocally. >> mm-hmm. >> so, at this point i'm cautiously optimistic. >> if you ran as a democrat, do you think that you can usvigate the democratic primaries and ca? >> well, i appreciate the question, but i don't ize what the democratic party stands for anymore. i don't believe that free college, a job for everybody, and medicare-for-all, which would take 180 millionff peoplef their employer insurance, is the right way. it's not only that e democratic party has gone far too left, it's the fact that both parties are not representative of the american people, and the system is broken. it's corrosive. it's corrupt. the system is not working. >> why doesn't the system work?
y is it broken? >> it's broken because both parties are beholden to special interests,-p seservation. they would rather have political issues as a wedge as opposed to solving a problem. so, let's just list a few thgs. we're $22 trillion in debt. that is immoral issue that both parties are complicit with. we have an immigration problemba that goe 20 years. president obama and president bush both submitted immigration policies that should've been embraced, but it wasn't. we have a healthcare crisis, we have an educations, our standing in the world -- all of these thingspr are ollems that haven't been solved for decades because both parties are not in business, every single day, waking up, caring foric and solving ams' problems. and there's such a lack of leadership and truthfulness in the system >> what about this moment to you says, "this is the ment for an independent centrist candidate"? i mean, certainly -- >> well, this is a moment of disruption, of transformation,un
and oppoy because the american people are fed up. >> what's your evidence that th?american people are fed >> well, with 100 million people not voting in 2016 and a choice coming to the american people that could very well beci a ist-leaning democrat in the form of bernie sanders, elizabeth warren, kama harris, beto o'rourke -- you name them -- and president trump, is there any evidence that anything is gonna impre, regardless of the outcome? and the answer is no. ld so why do you think the center hasn't et in american politics? >> because there hasn't beente a legitihoice and no one's represented the center for quite some time. i mean, this show has -- >> when was the last time there was somebody who really occupied the center? >> well, i think you got to go way back. it's not so much occupied the center as a person occupying american values. so, president johnson and the great society demonstrated a level of empathy and compassionaf focan-americans that was led by a white president.is
it was a cenposition. >> mm-hmm. >>dresident reagan establis both immigration and the fact that ever american deserved an opportunity to go to an emergency room, regardless of your opportunity to pay. his cooperation with tip o'neill demonstrated a centrist opportunity in which both parties were doing things on e.half of the american peo >> although reagan didn't come at it from a centrist position. he came from a conservativ position, and then, through leadership of working through compromise, right? principled compromise. >> yeah, you just mentioned the word -- leadership. servant leadership, caring for the american people. when's the last that we've seen that? >> are you interested in building a centrist architecture and infrastructure that goes beyond the presidency? and how do you persuade people that you're the one to do that? >> first of all, i'm not a messiah. i'm one person who loves the country and is deeply,
profoundly concerned about the direction we're going. i do believe that there are millions of americans who agree with me, from all walks of life. there are good people on both sides of the aisle who can't vote theirience and their heart because of thideology of both parties and the pressure if they do not follow the rules of the party, they will be primary'd out. if an independent person could get to the white house, these people would come out of that ideology. i also think you will see a plethoraf independent candidates run for office at all aspects of government. >> so you believe it has to go top down. you have to win the presidency, had then that can be the watershed momentempowers an independent architecture? >> i think the catalyst ha the oval office, and the reason foris, the president in the oval office establishes the character,th tonality, the morality of the country. and look at our situation today. >> there's an argument that howard schultz run for an independent senator from washington and start building the center at the federal level
rather than the executive. >> i don't think we have t time when we have $22 trillion of debt. we have the planet th is burning up. we have a healthcare crisis in the country eat is a runaway problem. we have k through cation, and we're almost 30th in the world. we have a siation with china and north korea that is bubbling up. i can go on. >> you say you're noa messiah, but why is it you? >> well, uh, why is it me? it's not about destiny.he it's aboutourage of my conviction to try and be t leader that i have been in a company. i've spent the last 18 months thinking this very carefully. put myself in a position to do this. i've funded it myself thus far. >> will you fundraise, or will you se-fund? one of the arguments donald trump made is, "i don't need money from anybody else.be i won'eholden to anybody else. i'm gonna pay for it myself." >> yeah, he did say those h things, but ths beholden to every republican self-interest known to mankind.
>> recently, you were in nashville. i'd like to play a clip and have you respond to it. i have a feeling i know what this clip's gonna be. >> i'm sure you do. theyere chanting for billionaires for president. and you are self-made. >> i'm self-made.ou >>idn't inherit your wealth. >> i didn't inherit any money. just a belief in the country >> your father didn't give you $300 million. >> no, but i'm somewhat sympathetic to whatth e people were seeing, and let me try and explain that. there is a crisis of capitalism in the country. and i say that as a proud capitalist. t what crisis? the crisis is that, with $22 trillion of debt, the government cannot solve all the problems of the american people so, when president trump
came out with a 21% tax rate for corporations, i was one of the first ones out of the gate to say, "this is a mistake." >> why? does it make us ss competitive? >> no, it makes us more competitive, but i think there was a tter way to do it. and the better way to do it would've been to provide tax rate of 25% or 26% with an incentive built in to provide health insurance, to provide training, provide college tuition. give an incentive, because businesses and business leaders need to do more for our people and the communities we serve. d since president trump, in a sense, has provided such a degree of immorality and a lack of character, lack of civility, lack of dignity in the white house, he has established for many people what it means to be wealthy in this country. that is not me. i mean, i could not be more different than trump in every aspect, especially as a businessperson. i've been a public ceo for alst 30 years where i have fiduciary responsibility, and i did two things.k our stice is up 25,000% while giving free college
tuition, healthcare and ownership to eve employee, and building a global enterprise in 77 countries. donald trump had no constituency whatsoev than himself and his family. and as you know, he's got a degree of conflict of interest that is greater than any president in the history of our country. so, the comparison is a false narrative. >> speaking of donald trump, the torney general has recently summarized robert mueller's report a four-page letter that he sent to congress, and hopefully that full report will be released. but do you accept e attorney general's conclusions nthat there was no collus with the russians? >> well, i have not read the report. i think the american people have a right to readwo ever and every sentence in that report. and when that occurs, we will know. >> but do you accept the conclusion of the attorney general? do you think theer attorney g would misrepresent the conclusions in the mueller report?
>> i have to believe that the attorney generalru is telling the. but having said that, we should recognize that russia is an enemy of america and has worked very hard and has done a very good job of disrupting our democracy and our election process, and this president has turned a blind eye to that, v which y, very dangerous for us as a democracy. >> another foreign-policy question deals with china because you've spent a lot time in china. this extraordinary statistic that a starbucks opens up every day in china. >> yes, that's true. >> one of the things our intelligence agencies also agree on is that china is a rising authoritarian threat o the long-term and even short-term interesthe united states. >> right. >> how do you see china and the united states' geopolitical relationship with china andur security? >> i think this is really an important question. first off, starbucks has been in china for 20 years, and i've traveled to china perhaps more than any other
public ceo in the last decad i don't think china, unlike russia, is an enemy america, but i think china is a fierce competitor, and china has an eye on becoming and displacing us as the number-one economic power ri the world. >> what about mili? >> which is a danger to us, in terms of our standing in the world, our forei policy, and our safety and security.hi and so i we have to deal with china very -- with great effectiness, diplomacy, statesmanship. i do not believe the current policy of this trade and tariff war is,he right approach to chi but i do believe we need to be very tough with china on human rights, on currency manipulation, on trade, obviously. >> "tough with china" -- doa that mean preventing ch from superseding us in terms of research and development, intellectual property, and all of the things that would give it the security and economic advantage
over the united states? >> 100%. 100%. and we should be unleashing o every aspeinnovation, technology, and resources we have to make that happen. veur viewers should understand that china holds a trillion dollars of our debt. >> would you call yourself a deficihawk? >> i would. and i've been talking about this for a decade. i' been talking about this when it was at $10 trillion. >> yeah. >> the other issue is that the republics were banging on president obama for eight years -- boehner, mcconnell, and ryan -- about the debt and the deficit. now we have a republican president. where are the republic where are your conservatives? >> explain why this matters to an average citizen. >> yeah. >> because as you know the conservative movement built an entire pillar around fiscal responsibility and championed it for a good 60 years. >> yes. >> and then, as far as i can tell, a has completeicated this series of principles. >> not only abdicad it but is adding a trillion dollars a year and $500 billion of interest.o
why it's it's two things. one is, it's economically a disaster for the united states haveuse we will no the resources to invest in the things that we need, especially icompeting with china. that's just one issue. but it's immoral. whis it immoral? >> why is it immoral? because we need a candidate who can make the caseth there is a moral imperative to the debt and deficit. but thnew generation has forgotten it. there's no constituency for fiscal responsibility, it seems >> well, imoral because -- you have children? >> yes. >> okay. so, i have two grandkids and one on the way. it's immoralecause the united states of america will not be able to invest inheir future, and they are gonna be saddled with this level of national debt. and by the time president trump hopefully gets out of office in 2020, the debt will be closer to $25 trillion, larger than the u.s. economy. we have never been in this situation before. and so, at some point, this thing is going to blow. the two parties have been complicit in equally,
recklessly adding to the deficit and the debt- both parties. but this has been a republican issue for decades, and i just ask rhetorically, "where are they?" he i agree with you. i don't know whereare. but here's my question back to you. how are you gonna able to do it if they built an entire party and movement around it and couldn't? how are you gonna be able to do it instead? >> if i run for president and am fortunate enough to get elected, unlike a democrat or republican who goes into the oval office,n i don't walkere with a fixed enemy. in fact, i wk in there saying, "listen, there are good people as both sides of the aisle. there are good i from both sides. i'm willing to work with both." but my agendis going to be to rebuild trust and confidence with the american people to specifically go after the debt and the deficit, to restore our standing in the world,st and mportantly, restore confidence in the promise of the american dream. >> the liberal or progressive
side of the democratic party believes the way to restore confidence is by buying things for people -- paying for free college, having universal healthcare, guaranteeing a job. >> yeah. you were the ceo of starbucks, you partnered with arizona state university to offer free college ition for some of your employees. >> all, actually, now. >> now it's all of your employees. can you explain, how is thatnd entally different than free college for all? >> first of all,th there's g free. we should establish that. so, soone is gonna pay. and who's gonna pay for all this free stuff? not only the wealthy but everyone's taxes are gonna go u company demonstrated that we could be financiallysu essful, reward shareholders, and achieve the fragile balance between humanity and financial performance. i think every business in america can do that and has a responsibility, in one way or another, to do that. and that should be a transformation of what of capitalism t should be future. all these other democrats
that are running for president, who are espousing all these things that are not feasible, that are fantasy, i have done it. >> is one of the keys to a platform for a centrist independent candidacy callinon the civic sector and the private sector to step up and carry the weigh of what the far left says should be the reonsibility of government >> well, i think the transformation of the country has to be an understanding that government can't solve all our problems, unli what the democrats are saying, that there has to be a partnership between business, philanthropists, nonprofits, and the gornment. you know, when i hear bernie sanders and elizabeth warren and this young, very talented congresswoman who -- i think these are l well-intentioned peopl who love the country, but their policies are just t -- they're not real. free college, free jobs, medicare-for-all -- it's not gonna hpen. >> somebody who has a very similar pedigree to you, in the sen that they are self-made and they're a billionaire,
is mike bloomberg. there's a report that o ke bloomberg is reconsidering his decision notn for president and may run as a moderate democrat, not as an independent centrist. >> yeah. >> where is his thinking wng about the viability of a moderate democrat? >> well, i can't speak for mayor bloomber who i have tremendous respect for. i wasn't surprised when, a month or two ago, he decided that he was not gonna run, cause when he looks at the math, there's no room for him asst a centemocrat in a party and a platform that -- >> this is the calculation you came t >> yeah. but my calculation was also based on the two-party system. i'm sure that the recent talk is linked to whether vice president biden is gonna run or not.u >> do ink the accusations about joe biden are unfair? >> i don't know if they're unfair or not. i think, for these women who are ming out and talking about this, there's no reason to believe they're not telling the truth.
i know vice president biden, i respect him, he's a good man. i don't know whether he was gonna run for president or not. i suspect that mayor bloomberg's decision to rethink this is directly linked to that. >> iit's true what these women say about biden, do you believe it's disqualifyingbe or shoulisqualifying for vice president biden? >> i think he'd have to answer that question for himsf, and the american people have to answer that. but certainly, i thinker it's abig problem. >> there's a different standard for democrats and republicans, it seems. president trump has sustained -- >> well, it's a different standard for president trump. >> why? >> i don't know the answer to that. but let's see if it's t.different standard in 2020. that'll be the t >> this program aired for 33 years by a single host, william f. buckl jr. and he covered almost every topic. aso, he covered the idea independent centrist candidate in a program here with a guest you'll recogni in a discussion about ross perot.
thican people do not trust congress and do not trust this president. i also believe that the ideology of both parties, as we talked about earlier, is not representative of the vast majority of americans who are looking for an answer. >> the cry from the democrats -- at least moderate democrats -- is that you will give the election to donald trump. >> they want you to believe that. >> does your candidacy only work if the left nominates a progressive? e,>> i think the math, for certainly works better if there is a far-left nominee. mpwever, it is a false narrative tely, with regard to me siphoning votes away from democrats in re-electing donald trump,e and ason is, there are lifelong republicans who haveeen republicans forever, who perhaps have never voted for a democrat, who are not gonna pull a leveran for berniers or elizabeth warren. but they do not want to pull that lever for someone whose character, morality, lack of civility is so inconsistent
with the republican party.he so if i'm inace, there is a great chance that i will pull more votes away from the republicans d than tocrats. the character issue of donald trump is gonna come home to roost in 2020 with millions of americans. if they have -- if they have a different cice. >> that is what you believe. where is the evidencee that that's se? >> well, the evidence is that donald trump is not a trusted president. the evidence is that donald trump has made all of these promises. dhat's happe in west virginia? what's happened to the manufacturing jobs? what's happened to the millions of americans who he promised a better life? he's gonna have to run on his record for the first time. and we're goa make that record very, very visible to the american people. and 's not gonna be able to deny it. >> there are so many people who want to believe what you're saying, but where do you seeen the ev that it will be enough to carry you over the finish line?
ev>> the evidence is, i be in the goodness and kindness of the american people. and if given a choice between a far-leaning left, socialist-type person running for the democratic party and re-electing an immoral person whose character and lack of civili is inconsistent with how they raise their children, and we can provide an opportunity for someone to see that i have run a global organization and balanofit with conscience and humanity and are willing to solve serious problems today and bring the two parties together, we have 18 months to prove that case. >> howard schultz, thank you for coming to "firing line." >> thank you. thanks for the opportunity. >> "firing line with margaret hoover" is made possible by...